tv KQED Newsroom PBS April 5, 2019 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT
tnight on kqed newsriment, a fight heats up over a for the homeless in san francisco. and the comeback of methamphtamine. emergency room visits in san francisco. and state law h makersp end conviction records. we begin with pg&e's over hall. it's replacesing most of its bord of directors. this afternd month -- they face a tough challenge, guiding the comp an through its restructuring, embezzlement
court. meanwhile tough challenges for the mayor of san francisco as well. there's intense opposition to a navigation centeadon the embao to shelter the homeless. >> here with a wlook at those stories and national political developments is kqed's politics correspondent. with wilson, walsh consulting and city hall reporter for the "san francisco chronicle." welcome to you all. what did the appointments of the neceo, bill johnson, and the new board of directors tell us? >> it depends on who you ask. pg&e has framed the new ceo as people that have expertise in safety, that there really going to focus on the nuts and bolts of pg&e. what critics are saying is this is ten directors, many who have a lot of ties to wall street.
and i think it's importedant to know how things have prugrszed. the stock has gone up drumattedically. we've seen a lotof pressure around trying to push sacrament oeo to change policies. next twheek governor will be coming out with a set of oprupozales around wild fire generally. and i thing this decision to put this particular group ofd peopl ill johnson in charge is going to stoke -- >> and people now digging throegh therds and saying when he was duke energy, he was ceo for less than a day and walked away with a $44 me lion severaackage. that doesn't instill confidence from members of the public. >> you have pg&e executives that have walked away with severances
in the last round of bankruptcies.y t go to the public utilities commission and get a guaranteed rae increase. there's really no consequences to these folks.it some polical consequences. >> are there really? they know that the state needs them and i think that's why they're able to buck everybody in california and say we would rather listen to wall stre at. >> thee a lot of steak holders in this. we have law makers want to have a say. weave wild fire victims. how do you thk all of this will play out? >> i think this guy was brought on --el ive it's the tennessee valley authority he waw coming from. theyere pretty sterling from the reports i've read.
he did well financially and for the authority itself. but this organization has to come out of chapter 11 bankruptcy and then win back thc pub trust and their biggest challenge is winning over trust for members who have seen pretty catastrophic -- >> and givene how de straights are for pg&e, what we've soon with the wild fires, it is pretty remarkable how much leverage they seem to be maintaining when you couple that with the other utility which the ste does not want to see enter chapter 11, ib have a hare believing anybody but rate payers and taxpayers are going to be the ones paying. >> san frusko is looking at buying from pg&e's assets and establishing its own independent power system. there was a poll about how san francisco oresidents fee
>> it's a very real psibility at they could buy up significant amounts of san francisco oassets. the byzantine nature of bankruptcy court will have a lot to say about that. they week put a poll in the field the results have come back. the san francisco public utilities commission. they went fully briefed, fully h explained on boouing the assets would mean, in the o billiodollars with a "b". >> and you're buying assets that are in some cases over 100 years old. you've got a bad infrastructure and billions in upgrades.e legislature is going to probably mandate they underground utilitiest throughot state, which is probably where they don't need to. it's hard to say that to people who live in the north state w suffered those fires.
but there's places where it's appropriate and plaere it's not.e once you get gislaturer involved the public utilities. er >> much morer to say on this. bute want to m on to a closcloly cloatched local issue. and that is the center she wants to bring to the embarcadero. she wasmm at a city meeting and got shouted down. there ares pla with homeless shelters can move in with they're belongings and pets. >> ihink it's the specific location. it's onhe embarcadero, as people like the say the city's fronyard and not backyard. part --ction has been in we didn't hearer it from the mayorer before hand. we heard fully balked proposal
and people felt likeer they not given any chance to have input. on the other side of the equation is a lot of people who look at emelessness as singular -- not singular but most pressing problem. >> top three. >> they're looking at this issue and saying people are living and dying on our streets and we need get them inside. there is no problem that is not helped by having a roof over your heid and the of resisting putting people inside a shelter is puginant to a lot of people in the city. >> certain there are those contending this is an area visited not only by locals in+$ san francisco but people allover the bayrea come wi their families and kids. >> maybe all over the world. >> and are they not seeingp homeless p now? one of the biggests complaints from the tourismoard and chamber of commerce is how upsetting this problem has
become, particularly downtown rc and in the emero area. that's the argument proponents are making. we're going to see it play out around the state. the governor's proposed half a billion dollars for these sort of triage places. it is one of those issues i think everybody wants to solve but mostle pe don't want to take the burden on for. >> in fairness to the wrap-around services, that's how u're going to transition people into long-term stability. generally people don't want people in their backyards. they tend to vigorously.gs less f you put that over by the presidio heights, i bet you'd have the same kind of complaints from those neighborhoo well. >> and there's a growing en cos, maybe a not a big one but let's put them there. that w don't have a choice. this lot can be built more
quickly and the city already owns it, which makes it so attractbive. thing that has ingended so much of the se is the inflation that homelessness equates to dirty, dangerous neighborhood and that a h shelter touse homeless people is going to rueen the neighborhood. that's where this comes om. we have to move on to national politics as well. today a private lawyer for president trump told them not to release release president's tax returns. th the ways and means committee is requesting six yes of returns. is there any argument treasury secretary mnuchin could use to say no? >> numbere, ot's authorized under law for ways and means. that sai they have to have a
meaningful reason why they hve to turn those records over. and they don't have at meaningful reason. es for you can't just do a fishing expudition to attack donald trump or anybody else for that matter. so if they had a reason, through any of their investigative work here they could prove criminal activities done >> they want to see the auditing prauszess. >> they didn't get him on the mueller report and other issues. so i think this is fishing expedition. he was on the train after donald trump was elected about how he was going to gofter trump and now he's living up to that politics. >> certainly democrats would love this for political reasons. you can't ignore the fact that we have president who has main tinned business interests, whose
sons are controlling it. >> and the only president since nixon -- >> and there are very legitimate questions about whether the president is using hoffice to enrich himself, family and friends. i the argument replicans will make is what sean laid out and i think this will end up in court. >> i want to talk about the subpoena. they voted to approve a subpoena to try to make attorn general william barr relelese the full eport. dominic, do the democrats face a back lash instead of just movingn to maybe economic issues? >> maybe so. i think there will be a tipping point. and i don't think it's very far away beforer it feeds into the witch hunt narrative. m interested in what they think they can get out of this information that bob mueller his
team did not regardless of politics. what are they going to find? >> was barr rr's smagz of the report accurate as well. so weon't know what we don't know. >> for thedemocrats, screamed bloody murder for two yes. give thean time if anyone tries to slow or shut down thisw investigatio're going to take action, right? all the sudden we got to issue subpoenas to get it out tomorw? >> th is not we're going to hear for sure. thank you all >>s ce 2011 deaths have doubled. meth is now considered a public health crisis in san francisco.
last year nearly half the visits to the psychiatric rgemcy at san francisco general were by people high on meth.sa in februar francisco mayor london breed announced a task force. joining me to discuss meth's comeback is health correspondent. nice to see you. so obviously a big problem io, san francieth use. how widespread is the epidemic outside of san frcisco? >> it varies from region to region. in general what we're seeing is a rise in stimulant use opposed to the opioid epidemic. more cocaine and pcp on the east coast. but met west.ch bigger in the so besides san francisco o, it's bi in los angeles. there's also pockets in denver and growing in texas as well.
so within the west and the midwest, 70% of local law enforcement agencies say meth is theibiggest drug threat. >> 70%? that is enormous. and you interviewed a number of meth addicts. >> at first meth can give you a really euphoric feeling. makes you happy, confidet. i talked to a number of women and they talk about how it makes you productive a
they think someone is after them.y' t break nothing to people's homes. >> it can make you feel really paranoid. and that's why psychiatric ie emergeat the local hospital are so high. youel actually can't it the difference between someone who is really highon meth, called meth-induced psychosis and someone who has chronic schizophrenia. they look the same. >> i remember the covering the meth epidemic in the early 2000s. because you culd find the ingredients in econjestants in the drugstore and congress cracked down it went away. why is it making a comeback now? >> they left a void but someone wasing to come in and fill it because people are still willing to buy drugs. so mexican cartels moves into
the void. so a lot off meth is made in mexico but brought to los angeles, which is one of the distribution centers for the rest of the country. >> and it's become very pure and 'seap, about $5 a hit. >> th one of the reasons people are buying it. >> and three for opioid addiction and yet nothing for meth. why is that? >> its to the do with the science. in the brain there are opioid recepts and these drugs have been developed tciget those sc recepts. but when you use meth, it effects the entire brain,o there isn't anything scientists can use to zero oin on something drktly.l s of things have been tried.
antipsyc wtics andre left with behavioral treatments.th and in our hecare system are difficult. they take a long time. they're expensive. >> you interviewed trishaiy>ñ sanford studying why some people are particularly susceptible. and why would that help with future treatments? >> under conventional treatment, conventional rehab, 50% of meth users will end up relapsing within a year. so scientists at stanford are looking at mris while people look at pictures of drugs that stimulate their interest. it's really interesting. they found that there is a very specific part of the brain tha lights up. and so in discovering this,
they're hoping that will lead to more directed treatments down the line. >> but for now, like you said behavioral therapy, is that what they're having to rely on and other incentives that seem to work with addicts? >>er so t is a contingency management and there'sog m in san francisco that does this. people come in three time as week, a in a cup and take a test. and every time negative, they get paid. er it goes up10 tover the course of 12 weeks. and it works. we use it foreight loss. it'serer the same kind of things used to teach children howe. to beha but a you can imagine taxpayers not liking the idea of our state programs paying drug users to
not use drugs so most insurers don't cover it. >> what do you think is the biggest challenge in trying to address it had this? >> the opioid epidemic is -- and from a sort of public perspective when somebdy ods on opioids, they're kind of passed out on the sidewalk. but when someone has used too much meth, you gethat paranoi the psychosis. people maybeunning into the middle of the street, disrespecting traffic. it's more of a public nuisance, if you will. i think it disrupts society iwaa differen deaths have gone up. the absolute number of deaths are not henearly same as opioids and that has made it
difficult to get more atng more money, more resources. >> thank you so much. >> and you can hear the rodio documentary at www.california report.org.ta turning now to politics. california could soon clear the criminal records of millions of people. state assembly member it offered the measured believed to be the first of its kind. it can be a major barrier to finding work, housing or public benefits. ughly 8 million could get relief without having to pay any money or petition state courts. joining me to discuss this and other legislative priorities. nice to have you back. > thanks for having me. >> first i'd like the ask y about pg&e's shake up of the board of directorsnd the
appointment of another ceo. >> the board 's been takenov by a number of hedge fund folks who seem like they have the interest of mun oney over the interss of ratepayers. so we want to be sure we have an entity organization that's going to come out of it andte serve t payers better. ihink we'll have to wait and see. >> let's talk about your criminal justice bill. thes cri eligible to be wiped out areno misdeme or low level felonies like drug offenses. why do you feel it's necessary to do this? >> right now millions of californians. and underneath that are millions already eligible to have their records cleared. many times you can get arrested and you're never convicted of
sything but that stn yourricered and if you apply for housing, you may have to answer questions about some very minor conviction. what we kno is f these millions of californians, it's hard to get employment, hsing. so if we can automate that system. ight now they can clear that record but it takes time, hiring a lawyer, going to court. talks money. >> $150. >> that's right. have the attorney general's office do it. have one data base thget to the courts and the courts could say that information is being with held. >> somehing you could have gone farther andow fo colorado which authorized the courts acquitted of charges or acquitted as charges were dismissed. >> so we tried that approach last year and couldn't get it out of appropriations because the courts in and said that was very difficult to do, they
haven't sp money, and effort. so we wanted to take a step back. look at a process that was cheaper and more streamlined. you have one party that does it, that way it's consistent around the state. th holdthe counties w that information. >> let's talk about the college admissions scandal as well 13 bay area parent are among those charged including an entrepreneur whondicated this week he will be among the first to plead guilty. you authored a bill in response to the skantdal canda what would your measure do? >> so this measure really deals with the legal back door peep coming into. really dealing with donors and alumni. right now you many elite universities. they reserve an express door of sorts for people who donate or alumni.
they get 21 million in grants for low income students that go to usc. but they reserve 19% ofsl their ts for donors and alumni. er >> children of donors and alumni. er >> right. what we want to do is say if yta the money from the state, you shouldn't show anyen pref for donors or oalumni. one front door whereavr within gets admitted and evaluated. >> how would you go about monitoring that though? >> once you pass laws, you have to do follow up and make sure they do amend their policy. but they at first would have tr do it on thn. >> sort of on the merit cystsm first? >> well, initially but we would do follow up oveight and do hearings to understand what the data is. there isn't a lot of pubshed data. they keep all that information to themselves. so one start would be toet more information, more data to
understand. 19% is not published anywhere their website, we found that information via blog in a news article. >> and you're a big fan of long receipts. i'm joking. fro you have a bill barring retailers from giving out printed receipts unless they ask forthem. w bt else are you workingn these days whaut what's your priority in terms of upcoming legislation? >> that is one of our priorities. we want people to actually be able to offer digital receipts first after 2022 anden the people who want paper reseats can ask for them. that's to us very important. for the environment, yes. >> what about your upcoming priorities? what's coming down the pipeline for you? >> iave two major pieces of housing legislation.
one around accessories dwelling units and thuke other around surplusublic land. this would insure it gets ffered to affordable housing developers first with dwelling units known as granny flats, this would streamline the process throughout the state. right now you ve a lot of sit especially wealthy suburban citie bannedthem. much but in-laws are a way to get affordable house nothing to communities. >> we know governor newsome's budg he unveiled focussed on health care and early child hood education. are there certain provisions you feel you may have trouble backing? >> oerall the broad vision of the budge we're very supportive
of and what we'rer doing is getting into the details. got a proposal on housing and homelessness. we want to take a look at early ucation piec i think were l.ery supportive overa >> thank you for coming in and sharing lth us yourislative priorities. and that will do it for us. assall was you can find mo of our coverage at kqed.org/newsroom.
robert: president trump changes course but sticks to his hard line. i'm robert costa, welcome to "washington week."ip brinkmant the southern border. president trump threatens to close it, then backs off. president trump: i may shut it down at some point but i'd rather do tariffs. robert: the attorney general under pressure as democrats request the mueller report and the president's tax returns. evel ofs rise to a presidential in all of this. show us the mueller report, show us the tax returns. robert: plus, the former vice president's conduct faces scrutiny as he nears a 2020 run. >> it is incumbent on me, i think everybody else, to make sure that if you embrace someone, if you touch som